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Beta: HBO Piques VOD Sub Interest

7/13/2003 8:00 PM Eastern

Among consumers, HBO on Demand seems to be the VOD service that's most in demand. At least that's the take of Beta Research Corp., which gauged consumer interest in video-on-demand offerings for the first time in its latest "Cable Subscriber Study."

Home Box Office's offering ranked No. 1 among total adults of the 14 VOD platforms in the survey, according to the research firm's cable division president, Andy Klein. That placed it ahead of History Channel on Demand.

ESPN on Demand — third overall, in a dead heat with Showtime and Starz! — led among men, while Home & Garden Television's HGTV on Demand at No. 4 was tops among women.

Elsewhere, Beta said that Fox Movie Channel and National Geographic Channel are the respective emerging and midsized networks that generated the most consumer interest.

About 58% of adult respondents ranked Fox Movie Channel at 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale, Beta said.

That commercial-free service — No. 1 for the second year — was followed by The Science Channel (46%), Do-It-Yourself Network (43%), The Biography Channel (41%), and FamilyNet and History International (tied at 40%).

Others above the 30% level: Weatherscan Local (34%), Discovery Kids (34%), Lifetime Real Women (32%), Fox Sports World (31%), and News World International and the ad-free Sundance Channel (both at 30%), Beta said.

Compared with Beta's 2002 subscriber survey, The Science Channel and DIY improved their scores, the research firm reported.

Following NGC (51%) in Beta's rankings of midsized networks were WGN (at 50%, up significantly from a year ago), Lifetime Movie Network (47%), Discovery Health Channel (41%) and Hallmark Channel (39%).

LMN, Hallmark and WGN ranked strongest among women, while NGC and ESPNEWS led among men, Beta noted.

The researcher pointed out that differences of less than four percentage points are "not statistically significant."

The subscriber study, purchased by more than 60 cable networks, was conducted last April among a national sample of 1,000 cable subscribers.

Of those, 500 were asked about 39 emerging and digital networks while the remaining 500 were surveyed about 16 midsized services and 14 VOD networks.

VOD Leaders
The most sought-after video-on-demand programming services, according to Beta Research's latest "Cable Subscriber Study":
Network % of Subs*
* Percentage of Basic Cable Subscriber adult survey respondents who gave the networks either a 4 or 5 interest rating on a 5-point scale
Source: Beta Research Corp.
HBO on Demand 34%
History Channel on Demand 30%
ESPN on Demand 26%
Showtime on Demand 26%
Starz! on Demand 26%
HGTV on Demand 25%

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